A textile, much like land or skin, reveals the imprint of time and experience. While its presence in our lives is often overlooked, it quietly absorbs our actions, develops scars, and connects us to rich histories and cultural identities. Think of a cherished piece of clothing, or a worn family quilt passed down for generations. The power of these items comes from their use, and they become the living relics of stories that are endlessly woven into their fibers.
Adrian Esparza begins this work with traditional sarape blankets, which he wholly unravels before redeploying their colorful thread into large-scale installations. The sarape, an object that is part of the everyday experience in border towns like Esparza’s El Paso, functions as an enduring symbol for the Mexican-American culture in which the artist was raised and continues to live. He sometimes even refers to these works as abstract self-portraits, exploring his own cultural identity through this iconic fabric craft. Placing the sarape at the center of his practice, Esparza embraces the histories and meanings embedded within this commonplace object. Yet, in deconstructing and recontextualizing it, his work also speaks powerfully to the potential for change and transformation in what surrounds us.
Adrian Esparza received his B.F.A. from the University of Texas at El Paso and his M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts in 1998. Artist residencies include Art Pace in San Antonio and the Border Art Residency in La Union. Esparza’s textile pieces travel the globe through exhibitions in the following museums and galleries: Rufino Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, Mexico City, Mexico; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY; Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Museo del Barrio, New York, NY. Since 2016, The Dallas Museum of Art has featured Esparza’s pieces through the C3 Visiting Artists Project. Esparza’s works reside in the permanent collections of multiple museums including the Dallas Museum of Art , the El Paso Museum of Art, and the Perez Miami Art Museum as well as in many additional prominent private and public collections.